America 250! Membership Task Force

Written by: Christina Bannon, National Vice Chair, America 250! Membership Task Force
August 29, 2017

DAR has set an ambitious membership goal of 250,000 by 2033 in celebration of the United States Semiquincentennial. This represents an addition of about 65,000 members, or an approximate 35-percent increase in total membership during the next 15 years. Difficult and ambitious? Yes, but achievable if chapters reach the goal of a 10-percent net gain in membership each year. Recognizing that we grew by 12 percent in the last seven years, we believe that this is attainable.

Strong emphasis will be placed on preparing local chapters to increase their capacity to attract and process prospective members, who will likely express interest in record numbers.  The America 250! Membership Task Force (MTF for short) has been established to channel some of the National Society’s most experienced genealogists toward helping with difficult membership applications and thus helping to reach this goal.

During this past year’s Congress the MTF was privileged to participate in the Road to 250 presentation during the Saturday afternoon business session. You can find the presentation, which would make a great chapter program, here:

The MTF is here to help your chapter in two ways.  First, is the Application Help Desk part of the Membership Task Force. They answer questions that registrars may have about application preparation. The email is Contact them if you have questions about completing and submitting the application.

The second part of the Membership Task Force, are the volunteers who help chapter registrars with problem papers. Email  if you have a problem. There are over 250 volunteers spread out across the United States and Canada, who deal with all types of application issues, such as:

  • Review an application before submission
  • Take a prospective worksheet or incomplete Build an App and find a line 
  • Fix Pre-letters
  • Deal with AIRs and applications at 6 months
  • We do not work on supplementals

Who are the volunteers?  Volunteers were chosen for their history of submitting successful applications and their reputation of working well with others in a teamwork approach to problem solving. It is by invitation only. Their only motivation is to help others! They have special skills such as:

  • Access to any special libraries or repositories
  • Experience with a location – certain states/counties
  • A special talent such as writing analyses, finding alternate lines, service studies, etc.
  • Enjoy working with a registrar to rework a paper for a pre-letter or review an application with a registrar wanting a second opinion

Some examples of our work:

  • A Canada paper with a PA patriot issue was fixed by a PA volunteer
  • A Louisiana application needing analysis help, was resubmitted by a volunteer skilled in analysis writing
  • An Indiana application with a closed patriot line was helped by a MA volunteer- a new line was found
  • A TX application was resubmitted by a VA team of four volunteers, who found a new patriot
  • A CA paper was fixed by an IA volunteer and a VA volunteer, working the two separate AIR issues

If you need help, this is the process:

  • Email us at and request help 
  • Send us the:
    • Original application or Build An App - filled out as completely as possible
    • Have supporting documents already obtained concerning the issue available
    • The Pre-Letter or AIR (if applicable) 
    • Permission letter signed by the prospective and the chapter registrar.
  • Understand the MTF’s goal is membership.  We will use the easiest line your prospective can join under. You must agree in advance that an alternate line may be used.    
  • A volunteer is assigned to your chapter
  • For AIRs and Pre-Letters, the volunteer will submit the response directly to National.  
  • Once the volunteer has an assignment, she works with your chapter until the application verified.

The America 250! Membership Task Force has been active since March 2017. In that time, almost 80 problem applications have been verified thanks to the MTF volunteers.  At present, there are another 200+ problem applications assigned to volunteers.  If you need help, don’t hesitate to contact us.  We can help on the Road to 250!

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